The Fastest Way to a Cleaner Jobsite.


The true origin of the proverb, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness,” is under dispute. It may have first appeared as an old Hebrew proverb….  Or maybe Francis Bacon (the creator of Empiricism, 22 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon) pushed the idea in the 17th century. Or maybe it came from a galaxy far, far away….






All other things being equal, human beings prefer cleanliness over dirtiness. I won’t speculate on any higher power’s personal preference among the two, but when I picture the pearly gates and the abundant cumulus clouds that are sure to abound in the afterlife… well, they seem clean.



On the jobsite cleanliness decreases the chance of injury and indicates order, competence and pride of workmanship.

“Great work, Tom. This disaster tells me you are very busy. Keep it up!”



Hispanics comprise an increasing percentage of the workforce on the job and while many speak English fairly well, the majority prefer to speak Spanish.



If you are only communicating in English, you are missing out on the assistance of the Hispanic workers to help you – among other things – maintain a clean jobsite.



Contrary to the natural inclination of many new hires – the fastest way to a cleaner jobsite does not involve either A) doing it yourself or B) paying someone else to do it.




Decide What You Want. Ask For It.

If you decide you want to improve the cleanliness of your job, the fastest way is to simply ask for what you want. Assuming you are fluent in English, here’s how you can simply ask for help en Español.

Behold… The Puede Payday.




The PUEDE Payday

The Spanish word for “Can you” – Puede (PWAY-day) – is the Spanish equivalent of compound interest or Darth Vader… the most powerful force in the universe. At Red Angle we call it the Puede Payday, because once you master this bad boy, everyday is payday. As you bridge the language gap with the Hispanic workforce on your job – your life will get significantly easier.




You can say Puede and then tack on a non-conjugated verb right behind it. If I lost you at non-conjugated verb… sorry. It means we can simply slap a verb we don’t have to mess with right behind Puede.



For example:

Puede organizar :: Can you organize

Puede mover :: Can you move

Puede limpiar :: Can you clean

Puede tirar :: Can you throw away



Pretty sweet, eh? Even better than high-fructose corn syrup, nuts, caramel, and nougat.






All Hail Spanish Twins

So we are all squared away on Puede :: Can you. You may have noticed Organizar (ohr-gah-nee-SAHR) and Mover (moh-BAYR) look a lot like their English relatives – Organize and Move.



Exactly. They are Spanish Twins – words that are durn-close in both languages.



While there are thousands of Spanish Twins, we will have to remember Limpiar (leem-pee-AHR) and Tirar (tee-RAHR). After you get comfortable with Puede organizar and Puede mover, begin to incorporate Puede limpiar and Puede tirar. Limpiar and Tirar are more specific and leave less room for miscommunication.



To effectively complete our cleanliness credo en Español, we are simply going to add the word Este (AYS-tay) at the end of our Puede + Verb construction. Este means “this” and works extremely well in conjunction with an index finger pointing at the anti-cleanliness culprit.



It looks like this:

Puede organizar este :: Can you organize this?

Puede mover este :: Can you move this?

Puede limpiar este :: Can you clean this?

Puede tirar este :: Can you throw this away?



And when the jobsite is cleaner, it feels like this….

Knocking on heaven’s puerta….

Bradley Hartmann is founder and el presidente at Red Angle (, a Spanish language training firm focused on the construction industry.

Categories: Jobsite Leadership

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